Newsletter September 28, 2005


  • FCIA’s new Magazine
  • ICC Hearings
  • FCIA In DC
  • at DHI Forum for the Future
  • UL “W” Rating Info
  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference

FCIA Announces new Magazine – Life Safety Digest – The Magazine of Effective Compartmentation – FCIA has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Inc. to produce a magazine to educate Architects, Engineers, Fire Marshals and Code Officials, plus General and Trade Contractors about Firestopping and Effective Compartmentation. Life Safety Digest is about our industry, for our industry and those who influence it worldwide. FCIA Members receive the magazine for free as a membership benefit. Email FCIA with your address, etc., if you are not a member, and want the initial issue for free. Subscriptions available as well. (bill@fcia.org) Advertising is open to FCIA Contractor, Manufacturer and Associate members, plus other industry firms & organizations interested our industry. Contact Bruce Weismann at McGraw-Hill for ad info at 312-233-7477.

FCIA at ICC Code Technology Committee (CTC) Meeting – FCIA attended the International Code Council CTC Hearings in Detroit September 22 & 23, 2005, along with the Door & Hardware Insititute, & AFSCC. The CTC Committee debated the method that will be used to evaluate the passive fire protection and active suppression (sprinkler) trade offs in codes. There will be several more hearings in the next year to discuss the issue. Committee Chair is Paul Heilstedt, former President of BOCA, with co-chair, Carl Baldasarra, President, Schirmer Engineering. FCIA visited with Carl & Paul, plus Marsha Mazz, Disability person, US Govt., Shariar Amiri, Building Dept. Chief, Montgomery Cy., MD, and many others. ICC CTC Committee members list

ICC Takes Notice of WTC Reports – ICC mentioned that in High Rise Construction, fire resistance ratings have increased from 2 hrs to 3 hrs, making tall buildings safer. ICC’s Press Release.

Additionally, the WTC Reports will be a big part of the ICC’s review of the debate about whether to include compartmentation and structural protection, sprinkler systems, or both technologies in future ICC Codes.

In many building occupancies, the 2006 IBC Code allows larger building height and areas, and less compartmentation. FCIA believes TOTAL FIRE PROTECTION is needed in codes, including compartmentation, detection and alarms, sprinklers, and education of occupants who demand safe buildings.

FCIA at ICC Code Hearings – The International Code Council is conducting its Final Action Hearings, September 28 – Oct. 2, 2005. FCIA will support several code change proposals that the IFC, AFSCC and National Association of State Fire Marshals has proposed to restore compartmentation, inclusion of “L” Ratings, ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Inspection, labeling of fire resistance rated walls and other proposals. FCIA will also support code changes where effective compartmentation is a vital part of total fire protection in buildings. Richard Licht, AFSCC Technical Director, reported that the group had a successful tabletop display at the ICC Trade Show, plus an education session. Members are encouraged to attend any and all parts of these hearings. Register at ICC.

FCIA in Washington, DC – FCIA President Bob LeClair and Executive Director Bill McHugh visited contractor organizations to form informal relationships that can benefit the groups. The National Insulation Association (NIA), Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors Association, (PHCC) and Association of Walls and Ceiling Industries, (AWCI) Directors and FCIA discussed how we can spread the message of the Firestopping installed by FCIA Member Specialty Firestop Contractors, and the importance of educated contractors. Educated contracting firms understand how technical our trade really is …. and may recommend FCIA Member Contractors instead.

UL Standards Technical Panel for UL 1479 / UL 2079 – FCIA is a member of UL’s Standards Technical Panel, the consensus development group for standards at UL. FCIA will be submitting several requests to the panel for action. The requests include movement capabilities of penetration firestop systems, caulk and walk systems for plastic pipe in chase walls that may pose a fire and life safety risk, and more test criteria on “W” Rating to address actual field conditions. Watch for more as these develop.

UL “W” Rating – Important Contractor Info – FCIA has been involved with the new “W” Rating, working with UL’s Standards Technical Panel to improve the test standard. FCIA supports this new standard for testing to add credibility to the suitability of use statements from the industry, rather than a ‘trust me, it won’t leak’ claim. However, FCIA contractors who apply products in the new “W” Rated systems need to understand the “W” Rating Testing Limitations, to avoid unwanted liability in their businesses. Here’s the executive summary of testing limitations:

  • Water Exposure before Cure – Some products require a few days to cure fully. The new “W” Rating results are from product that has been tested in a fully cured state. Should water exposure happen before cure, washout of the product may occur.
  • Movement – The “W” Rating is tested as a STATIC system, without movement. Consider excluding the movement of assemblies or penetrating items, either immediately after application or after aging in place, from contracts as it’s not part of the testing protocol.
  • Depth of Water – Structures aren’t designed to take heavy loads from water. Be sure to exclude structural integrity of the building as a result of sealing each floor. Additionally, “W” Rated systems are tested for a 3’ head of water pressure. This simulates a 12” depth of water, with a safety factor of three. For buildings in general, this should suffice as the deepest typical floor assembly is about 12”, with a sleeve extending above the floor about 2”. However, should deeper head pressure occur due to piping exposed to external forces, (main electrical cables fed from outside the building, etc.), greater pressure protection may be needed. Consult your firestop manufacturer for tested systems using greater pressures where it makes sense.

Understand the limitations of the testing for this new “W” Rating to protect your company, and present the new system in a professional manner with factual test data that supports suitability for use statements of products in specific applications.

FCIA at Door & Hardware Institute (DHI) “Forum for the Future” – The DHI Forum for the Future featured FCIA, DHI, Building Hardware Manufacturers Association, Door Safety Council and UL presenting Effective Compartmentation in buildings, and why it makes sense. Compartmentation is an important part of building safety, as part of “Total Fire Protection”….Detection & Alarms, Sprinklers, Compartmentation and Education. DHI President, Mark Hallgren, stated to FCIA’s board that “Fire Doors are the front door to the compartmentation industry.” He’s right. VJ Bella, FCIA Lifetime Member, NFPA Honorary Member, and retired Louisiana State Fire Marshal, brought the house down with his common sense approach to Total Fire Protection, and some great stories. FCIA Members can learn from the maintenance programs DHI has for inspecting fire doors on a regular basis.

FCIA at New York Fire Marshals Conference - FCIA thanks Steve Cappella, Penguin Life Safety who will be exhibiting at this important local conference for his firm. He’s volunteered to distribute FCIA articles to this important influence in Firestopping and Compartmentation. Contact the FCIA office if you have the same opportunity in your state. FCIA’s articles, CD’s are tools to provide resources to FCIA Member Contractors.

Support FCIA Manufacturer Members – FCIA appreciates the wide participation provided by FCIA Manufacturer Members. They provide product technology, technical assistance and testing for our industry, attend and present at conferences in addition to sponsoring FCIA Events. Participation in associations (FCIA included) is an expense that’s difficult to calculate a return from….with distributors, reps and others in the supply chain, feedback to manufacturers may not make it to FCIA Manufacturer Contacts. FCIA Member Contractors and Associates are encouraged to call the manufacturer contact listed on FCIA’s website to report using their material communicating successful sales for the firm as a result of being involved in FCIA. Support FCIA supporters!

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show – At this conference, we’re focusing on both the Firestopping and Effective Compartmentation Industries. Dick Bukowski, of The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an author of the findings from the World Trade Center Disaster, will address why Firestopping and Effective Compartmentation is needed in buildings, large and small. Click here for Chapter 9’s recommendations.

Wednesday’s FCIA Firestop Industry Update will allow FCIA Members to listen to and talk about industry issues:

  • Code Requirements – Results from ICC 2005 Hearings for 2006 Code
  • Marketing – Articles, PR, Magazine, FCIA Presentations, Contractor Promotion Tools, Plans for 2006.
  • Education – CD’s DVD, Firestop Education for Installers.
  • Technical – MOP 2006 Plans
  • Accreditation – Contractor Quality Program Update

Dennis Hall, FCSI, CCS, will introduce us to new markets in firestopping due to the new CSI MasterFormat 2004. Gary Dunger, OSHPD, visits with us about Firestopping in Hospitals. Plus, FCIA Firestop Contractor Project Profiles may bring an answer to your day to day problems on projects.

Thursday’s Effective Compartmentation Symposium will show you how compartmentation adds to your firestopping business through expanded opportunities in fire doors, fire dampers plus firestopping maintenance. The FCIA Conference Trade Show immediately follows the seminars. And, the AIA and CSI Chapters, plus local Fire Marshals and Building Code Officials from San Diego have been invited to join us.

Come for FCIA’s Firestop Industry Conference for education, stay for some fun. The Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament and separate tours, plus the FCIA Firestop Industry Awards Banquet brings opportunities to renew relationships.

FCIA’s conference is at Paradise Point Resort, San Diego, CA. Phone reservations, call 800-344-2626, and hold for Paradise Point Reservations. Don’t transfer to central reservations; stay on hold with the hotel directly. Mention FCIA in either case for a $155 rate. Early Bird Registration Discount ends October 1. Hotel room registration deadline extended until October 10.

Architects, Engineers, Code Officials, Fire Marshals and Building Owners welcome at the Firestop Industry Conference.

Hurricane Katrina & Rita – From Richard Keeney, who was rescued by boat from the roof of his house in Metairie, LA from Katrina…Sept. 9 message. “There's not much to report other than things are really still bad. They've closed down the city and the surrounding area for about another week. We're okay, but it's very strange to go get MRE's, ice and water from a FEMA line. Who would have ever thought? Richard P.S. I really appreciate everyone's concern. It lets you know who your real friends are! Thanks a million everyone! .....”

From Houston, TX, after Hurricane Rita, “we’re taking things down that we moved to high places in case of flood….gave us an opportunity to clean house too!”, states Chris Yargo, Fireproof Contractors, Inc.

“Where should we send money to help?”, ask several members. From those closest to the disasters, sources include the Red Cross, Salvation Army and church groups. Churches have opened their doors to people who became homeless after the hurricanes. FCIA has advised friends to give to the Red Cross. FCIA Member Chad Landry, Tremco, Inc., states that “the Red Cross is on the ground writing checks to help people”. From Richard Keeney, “FEMA, Red Cross, Military” are most prevalent. Give to the charity of your choice directly, so the donation goes to work helping people vs. administrating of funds by middle organizations.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
       Helen Keller - US blind & deaf educator (1880 - 1968)

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

©Copyright FCIA 9/28/05 - Permission is hereby granted to forward, print, circulate, quote with credit to FCIA.

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